The Rule of Many
The Rule of One Book 2 Hardcover | Paperback
Written by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Dystopian novels are such a common sub-genre of science fiction these days that I find it increasingly difficult to find one that I have any interest in reading, let alone finish. Which is why when I was presented with the opportunity to review The Rule of Many by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders – the second in a series – I was shocked to find the premise enthralling: identical twin sisters are forced to keep their lives as secretive as possible as they live in a more technologically advanced United States of America, sometime in the future, that has outlawed families from having more than one child.
And the kicker? Their father, who helps them keep their sisterhood hidden, is the Director of Family Planning for Texas (i.e. the guy who makes sure all families only have one child).
And so I read the first book, The Rule of One, and was equally amazed by how good it was. Which brings me to The Rule of Many, a story that picks up directly after the events of the first novel, and does something that most stories tend to have a hard time accomplishing in their sophomore outings: outshine its predecessor.
What I haven’t mentioned is that the writing duo of Ashley and Leslie Saunders are not only sisters, but identical twins. This very fact allows the reader to understand their POV characters – Mira and Ava – in an unmatched way, viewing their relationship in all of its familial intensity. Their bond is strong, fierce, and always beautiful. While The Rule of Many does hint at possible romances, love interests are not the focus – not even close – like so many other dystopian series. This is a story about sisters, their survival, and the survival of a nation.
In The Rule of Many, we are introduced to two new POV protagonists: Owen and Zee. Even though the inclusion of two new voices might seem like it would take away from the character development of the original sisterly duo, it doesn’t. In fact, all four characters are treated with care and develop naturally. I should also note that the Saunders sisters have a true gift for making their supporting cast matter.
Not only is there excellent character development in book two, but the action ramps up to the point of almost feeling non-stop. But as with their characters, Ashley and Leslie Saunders make the action matter: chases, battles, betrayals, and deaths – none of these things are added simply for entertainment sake, but they help drive the story and characters forward.
I’m not sure how many novels the Saunders sisters plan to write in The Rule of One series, but I will certainly follow Mira and Ava’s journey as long as they continue. The writing is beautiful, the protagonists are flawed but well-developed, and the story is progressing at a fantastic pace. This is one dystopian series I can get behind.